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Former Merthyr Tydfil Synagogue

Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

Foundation for Jewish Heritage

Saving and restoring the oldest surviving synagogue in Wales

Grade II

The Synagogue was built between 1872 and 1875 in heavy Northern Gothic style. It is the oldest surviving synagogue in Wales and is considered architecturally one of the most important in the UK. There was a Jewish presence in Merthyr Tydfil from at least the 1830s and the construction of the Synagogue reflected a community that was growing and prospering. The building’s fortunes mirror those of the community of broader Merthyr, which was once the epicentre of the industrial revolution and Wales’ largest urban settlement. The 20th century saw Merthyr’s Jewish community, once the largest in Wales, shrink in numbers. It eventually came to an end with the Synagogue closing in 1983.

The Foundation for Jewish Heritage was established in 2016 and works internationally to ensure that important Jewish architectural sites, monuments, and places of cultural significance in danger are preserved and re-imagined for a sustainable future. The Foundation purchased the Synagogue in 2019 in order to save it, with the vision to create a Welsh Jewish Heritage Centre to present the 250+ year history of the Jewish community in Wales.

The project was awarded a Project Development Grant in May 2020. This funded a consultant to work with the Foundation to update a self-funded feasibility study and complete a business plan to inform applications to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, trusts and foundations. The Foundation submitted an Expression of Interest to NLHF and has been invited to submit a Round One application later in 2021.

Image Credits

Foundation for Jewish Heritage

AHF Funding

Project Development Grant - £5,664 (2020)

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